Aug 26, 2013

Stetind - Southpillar solo race

Norske semester del lll (dag lll)
Stetind - "the ugliest mountain I ever saw" a well known tale said by sir Cecil slingsby. Probably after failing to reach its very distinct summit

Stetind Northface, a demanding climb

I have climbed this peak in all kind of weather aspects, sun, mist, heavy wind and rain as well in clear sunny weather wearing only t-shirt and shorts
And the situation where the mountain is placed, just between the Lofoten islands and the higher peaks inland might be the cause of its hard to predict weather situation
Arriving Efjord is nowadays quite easy, at least if you have a car. Before the road and tunnel was built the only approach was by either foot or boat from Kjøpsvik. Probably more of an expedition compared to these days

After spending a brilliant evening and night under the north face of the mountain I had some quite relaxed plans for the next day, since the weather once again was said turning to bad. And, all the weather signs turned up as well, cirrus clouds followed by strong wind and dark big culumus clouds over land
But slowly they disappeared and the sky turned back to blue. Time to reconsider the planes!

The south pillar of Steind, which I had thought of as a good option came back to life. The longer and more difficult "devils dance floor" would be a more interesting route. But the pillar is the nicest climb on the mountain, keeping its grade mostly around UIAA 5, and much quicker to climb

Stetind South Pillar

After a quick breakfast I packed the sac a dos with a small selection of stoppers and cams and one single rope, just in case. Drove the car through the tunnel to the other side and headed off
The approach is very quick with a perfect path most of the way. Just before it takes off up the steeper part up to Halls fortop and Mysosten it makes a hard turn out left, with well marked cairns
Crossing the lower ampfi and just aim for the obvious pillar
Luckily I had just made it before two other parties, also was heading for the same route, a team of two and a team of three. So first in line so to speak!
The first pitches are quite easy, 4+ followed by some scrambling, so I decide to leave the rope in the sac. The next ones feel easy and comfortable as well so I just keep going on a nice phase, just enjoying the day. Climbing in only thights and t-shirt with a light breeze. Great day for this type of activity!
The angle of the pillar is never steep on the first part, just short sections, so it just keeps going and suddenly I arrive at the upper ampfi. A rock band were its possible to walk around it south face and of the route if needed
The next pitch is the crux of the whole route, a section with moves up to UIAA 6+. I decide to bring out the rope to protect the middle part, just in case. Wouldn't like to jump into the other teams belays unannounced sort of...!
It's about 15m with some harder climbing before it gets easier again and then the last pitch goes ok unroped again
Summit of Stetind, 3h from the parking to the top via south pillar

A look on the watch shows 3h from the parking to the summit
Then it's somewhat 2h scrambling/walk back to the parking, arriving just as the rain moves in. Just hoping that the other teams made it safe to the top as well...

The football field on Stetind summit

You need
1*50m rope, (2for full safety), a big set of wires, 1 set of cams, 8-10 QD's, or just a chalkbag and shoes...
No belays in place
Recommended, read the book Heaven takes all, Himlen tar alle. A great story about a couple during their climb of the peak
History the South pillar had its first FFA 1972 done by Lars-göran Johansson (who is running klatter och hogfjell) togheter with Håkan Bjerneld, källa Rafael Jensen

Link to Topo for the area, for a full guidebook, have a look at

-Hellre hugga i än bära ris på sin egen rygg

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